A business growth expert, Adenrele Onikosi has given insight into how entrepreneurs can profit from their creativity in a competitive business environment.
He gave the insight while facilitating the main session at 2023 All Ladies Business Forum in Lagos on Thursday, March 16.
Adenrele spoke on the theme, Innovation, and authenticity in the workplace. He noted in the about 40 minutes talk that many people confuse creativity with innovation.
No commercial success no innovation
According to him, “A service or product is not innovative until it is a commercial success.
“People can be creative in the way they do their business or render service. But that creativity can’t be classed as innovation until it leads to commercial success, Innovation does not happen if there is no commercial success.
“A lot of people mistake creativity and invention as innovation. Innovation is creating how to make a product or service a commercial success,”
He said further that “Innovation is not just a cliche but something that has to do with how the market responds. If the market does not respond positively, it is not yet an innovation.
The ability to shorten the process of production of a product or a service according to him is another element of innovation. “When the process of production is shortened, it means more money,” he said.
The Christian dilemma
Adenrele who has a track record of over two decades in the service industry observed that the bane of many businesses is a lack of authenticity “People have left their real identity. Your authenticity is your originality. That is what makes you different.”
He noted that the Christian is more challenged because he is caught in the dilemma of trying to be a Christian and trying to be a business person.
“But he forgets his identity in the process. The Christian is supposed to be a Christian whether in business or not. Bring your total person as a Christian into the business. The Christian is not called to fit into a generally acceptable system but to stand out,” he said.
Don’t be afraid to stand alone
While urging his listeners not to rely on external validation before they can turn their creativity to commercial success, he said, “You are not going to create a unique product if you doubt yourself. It is not about external validation, it is about inner validation. Never be afraid to stand alone.
“Many of us like to belong and be in the crowd. Authenticity does not thrive in the crowd. It thrives while going solo. It is not about making people feel happy. It’s about living your life the way you are wired.”
He said it is important for business owners to stay in their unique zone adding “Stay in the place where you can perform optimally. It starts with creativity and then commercial success follows.”
The way to be your best according to him is to show up at your best.“Everyday show up in your best. Take ownership of your life. Make it a daily routine,” he said.
Deep wisdom in the Bible
Describing the Bible as the best book ever written, he said, when you study the words of Jesus, you will see deep wisdom in them.
“Jesus said for instance that we should watch how we hear. He did not say, watch what you hear. What that means is that there is a distinction between what people tell you and how you hear it. You must be able to distinguish between what people tell you and what you tell yourself. I consciously tell myself that I am good.”
Citing a couple of instances, he said, “The world is full of fake people. Everything is fake. Dare to be original,” he charged
Language, not a measure of intelligence
Onikosi told the gathering they should not be bothered about their inability to speak the way the white man speaks while also adding that, “Language is not a measure of intelligence. There is a lot of local intelligence waiting to be harnessed. Be comfortable in yourself. Your accent makes you a better speaker of the English Language. Ugandans are rated as better speakers of the English language because they retain their accents while speaking.
“You can’t speak like an English woman. If your local tongue is reflected in the English language let It flow. When you go on the global stage and you speak English with your local accent, don’t be bothered. That is how you can intimidate your audience and earn their respect.”
Allow your creativity to thrive
He decried the educational system in Nigeria pointing out that people should allow their creative ingenuity to thrive. “It is only in yourself that your creative genius can flow. You are not everybody, you can’t afford to be like everybody.
“Start the design you have in your local language if that is what you can do. If you are a business owner, you must create a platform for people to express themselves. People are not created to thrive where their natural endowment is checked. Build a company where your staff will feel a sense of safety.
Onikosi noted further that “businesses don’t die from murder, they die from suicide. It always starts from within the business owner and then it affects the entire business. Many business owners still want to have undue control over their workers. The workplace is toxic because of this. There is no way such an environment can be productive, especially with the kind of people in this generation.”
The business forum took place at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce in Alausa Lagos. It held three days earlier than planned because the first date coincided with the postponed governorship election. It however attracted entrepreneurs from across the country. It was an opportunity for some business owners to showcase their services and products.
Convener of All Ladies Business Forum, Dr. Mrs. Shade Toyin Kehinde said the forum was designed for networking and equipping entrepreneurs with vital information that can help them enhance their businesses. Beyond networking and brand enhancement, participants took time out to dance and have fun at the event.